Mike Sexton, who was battling prostate cancer, peacefully passed away Sunday at his home in Las Vegas. Linda Johnson, his long-time friend and fellow Poker Hall of Famer, revealed the sad news on Twitter.
Sexton, 72, was a living poker legend and one of the game’s all-time best ambassadors. He hosted the World Poker Tour alongside Vince Van Patten for 15 seasons. The Indiana-born poker pro also achieved great success on the felt, cashing for $6.7 million in live tournaments, and far more in cash games.
Countless members of the poker community are grieving over the loss of an iconic figure. Sexton didn’t just announce poker tournaments and play cards. He played an integral role in growing the game over the past 30 years. His ability to draw in both the recreational and hardcore poker audience was uncanny. He made the game of poker easy to understand for casual viewers on Fox Sports. But was also beloved among avid poker pros.
Gone but Never Forgotten
After word spread last week about Sexton’s health status — he was in hospice care — most realized today’s news was imminent. But the poker community was still hoping for a miracle. Or, in poker terminology, cheering for the long-time voice of the WPT to hit a two-outer on the river. That river card didn’t come, as Johnson shared on Twitter.
Mike Sexton passed away peacefully at home earlier today surrounded by family members. He appreciated all the wonderful comments and farewells from poker players all over the world. Service details are forthcoming. For now, please keep his family in your thoughts as they grieve.
— Linda Johnson (@FirstLadyPoker) September 7, 2020
“Mike Sexton passed away peacefully at home earlier today surrounded by family members. He appreciated all the wonderful comments and farewells from poker players all over the world. Service details are forthcoming. For now, please keep his family in your thoughts as they grieve,” Linda Johnson wrote.
Johnson also said of Sexton that he was the most humble and kindest person she’s met. She continued to write, “Mike leaves an amazing legacy for the poker world and for his family.”
More than Just an Announcer
Johnson’s right, Mike Sexton leaves behind quite a legacy for the poker community. His role in growing televised poker and helping poker pros get sponsorship deals meant so much to the game.
Sexton was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2009 for his contributions to the game and for his dominance on the felt. He helped build both the World Poker Tour and Partypoker, the poker site he helped launch in 2001. The poker icon left the WPT broadcast booth in 2017 to return to Partypoker as Chairman.
Before he became a poker superstar, Sexton graduated The Ohio State University and was a Buckeye supporter throughout his adult life. While at OSU, he was a gymnast and earned a degree in public recreation. After college, he joined the US Army and was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division in 1970 as a paratrooper.
Sexton used his gymnastics skills while in the military as he taught ballroom dancing. Following his stint in the army, the future poker legend took a stab at a career in sales before realizing that poker was more profitable. He made the wise decision to switch career paths, and he never looked back.
May all your cards be live, and may all your pots be monsters in heaven, Mr. Sexton.